What is Health Equity?
**For a full infographic on disparity and disability, click here.
Healthy, inclusive communities are ones that make the healthiest choices the easiest and most accessible ones by removing barriers and providing needed assistance and resources to all community members at all levels. A failure to actively ensure that optimal, individual-level health is achievable for all can cause a community to experience an absence of health equity. This absence can lead to and exacerbate health disparities in individuals and groups with shared traits and characteristics, including:
- ability level
- sexual orientation
- religious beliefs
- socioeconomic status
- employment status
- education level
Individuals with disability are at a greater risk of experiencing health disparities than any other demographic group in the country. Males and females with functional limitations across the lifespan self-report worse overall, mental, and physical health than those without functional limitations.
While this inequity is astonishing in and of itself, it is doubly alarming considering disability prevalence is likely to increase across the lifespan due to:
- a growing aging population
- increasing survival rates of high-risk infants
- increasing prevalence of disabling conditions and behaviors in childhood (e.g., overweight/obese, autism, asthma, sedentary behavior)
- overweight/obese levels and trends in young- and middle-aged adults